PREGAME: Do the Tigers have a third straight 1-0 win in them? Probably not, but getting more than 1 run would be a feat against Johan Santana. It’s the second half of the season, and that’s when Santana is at his best. Over his career Santana allows a .583 OPS in the 2nd half of the season.
Detroit has faced Santana 3 times this year, and they’ve handed him a loss, a win, and a no decision. They have taken him deep 4 times in those 3 games, but that’s about the only chink.
The Tigers will send out a lefty of their own in rookie Andrew Miller. Miller was doing pretty well in his last outing until a single and a couple walks loaded the bases and set up the remarkable weirdness that involved Guillen and Beltre and Froemming oh my. This will be his 2nd start against Minnesota. In the first, he didn’t pitch that bad, but 6 of the 8 baserunners he allowed ended up scoring.
Granderson is 0 for his career against Santana so Ryan Raburn will lead off and play centerfield tonight as part of an all righty lineup.
Game Time 8:10pm
POSTGAME: Another battle with the Twins, and another compelling game. I won’t say a great game because if you’re a Twins fan this had to be a real tough loss. The Twins put pressure on the Tigers with a baserunner (or more) in every inning, yet could only muster 2 runs. And one of those runs was when Miller plunked in a run. Plus they had their ace, pitching very ace like, and couldn’t turn it into a win.
But, for Tigers fans it’s a great win where the bullpen held up and Magglio Ordonez appears to have returned to form. We’ve fretted a little over the last couple weeks about Maggs not driving the ball. Twice tonight he hammered balls to left center and that’s where he’s at his best. Although I think Maggs would be happy to share RBI duties with the rest of the lineup.
- Twelve tenuous outs and only 1 run. In the end the pen got the job done again.
- The Tigers lost both left fielders tonight. I’m not sure of Craig Monroe’s ailment, but Thames did something to his left hamstring when he made a spectacular catch in the 8th inning. I’m guessing Ryan Raburn starts and if the DL is involved we’ll see Timo Perez. I’m sure Leyland was going to look to give either Maggs or Guillen or Polanco or some combination the day off tomorrow, but they may be short handed.
- Speaking of the catch, it was incredible, but thank goodness he made it. If he doesn’t get it we’re looking at a tie game.
- Carlos Guillen’s 15 pitch at-bat was pretty incredible. Plate appearances that long are rare to begin with, but I wonder how often Santana has ever had to work that hard for an out. That was an innings worth of pitches.
- A decent outing for Andrew Miller. He looked good at times, but struggled with control other times (4 walks and a HBP).
UPDATE: In Leyland’s post game presser he said that Marcus Thames “is not good.” If Thames hits the DL, it very well may be Chris Shelton who comes up. If Monroe isn’t hurt, then the outfield is covered, but there is no back up first baseman (although Rayburn could probably do that as well).